Cannabis Based MS Drug Improves Spasticity in MS Patients

A cannabis based drug has shown promise as a possible treatment to relieve MS patients of symptoms involving spasticity usually associated with the said disease. A drug known as Sativex is the first artificial pharmaceutical prescription medicine derived from the cannabis plant. Manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, the said prescription drug has recently undergone a Phase III trial wherein its use as a possible MS treatment have shown significant improvement in spasticity in MS patients.

Spasticity is a disorder associated with multiple sclerosis wherein certain muscles receive certain signals from the central nervous system to tighten and contract. The said signals tend to over fire, causing muscle stiffness and tightness that can affect movement, gait and even speech. Spasticity is a common symptom of MS, usually affecting 75 percent of the patients who have the disease.

The Phase III trial involved 573 participants with MS that were affected by spasticity that had not positively responded to other existing therapies. The participants were initially given an initial fixed dose of Sativex for a period of four weeks. The 241 patients who responded well to the treatment were then given either Sativex or a placebo in a period of 12 more weeks.

After the second portion of the trial, 74 percent of the patients who continued treatment with Sativex further achieved an improvement of more than 30 percent in their spasticity score as compared to 51 percent of the patients who were given a placebo. Aside from that, there was also a significant reduction in spasms as well as sleep disturbances and an improvement in the overall impression of change in the trial participants as well as the doctors that examined them.

There are other therapies that are used in order to treat spasticity in patients with MS. The Phase III trial showed that Sativex worked with those patients who did not respond positively or only partially responded to current existing remedies. Although Sativex is proven to be effective in treating spasticity symptoms in MS patients, it does not however, aid in directly treating the disease or alter the course that this condition may likely take.

The manufacturer of Sativex has announced its plans to submit an application in the UK to allow it to be marketed to MS patients in the country. Sativex is currently available for prescription on a named patient basis. This means that the drug can only be prescribed by a medical professional if a need is seen. The said application aims to have Sativex widely available for all people suffering from MS.

Source: Multiple Sclerosis Society

 
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